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How to earn more in PR

Naturally, you work in communications because you love it, but it never hurts to earn a little more. Looking at how PR and marketing professionals can increase their incomes, Sarah Leembruggen, managing director, executive search, at recruitment consultancy The Works Search, says: “There are a number of factors which influence how much you earn in PR including which sector you work in, how frequently you move companies and how good you are at negotiating a pay rise.”

Discussing the sectors which pay best in PR, Leembruggen says: “As you will see from our last annual Salary Survey, financial PR (in-house and agency) pays the most out of the disciplines, closely followed by corporate communications and then consumer PR. Financial PR agencies also give out the highest bonuses.” Working in the most lucrative sectors is not the only way to increase your earning power. As Leembruggen explains, “Your salary is very dependent on how good you are at your job, how confident you are asking for a pay rise and how frequently you move companies. Some employers are good at giving regular uplifts, but many are looking to get the best value from their employees. The best way to keep moving up the pay scale is to know what your market worth is (an executive search consultant can help here), do a great job for your current employer and don’t be afraid to ask for a pay rise when you have delivered. From our findings, an average uplift when you move jobs is 20% and moving every few years is good for the challenge, learning and development.” 

Not everyone agrees that moving jobs is the best strategy for long-term earning power. Howard Kosky, CEO of broadcast consultancy Markettiers4dc, says: “It’s not uncommon in conversation amongst my peers that we find colleagues relatively new in to the industry see job hopping as one route to financial progress. One has to question however whether that is a good thing or not, I for one don’t believe it should be the preferred route. I’d recommend the view of ‘investing in your career’ as option one, and showing and proving your value.”

Kosky explains how you must not only perform, but demonstrate the value you bring If you want to earn well, be rewarded and alongside it, be acknowledged. “We as comms professionals are often tasked to demonstrate value and ROI to our stakeholders, but how often do we do that of ourselves as individuals, and PR the results? Ask yourself this question, would you employ yourself for the salary you want if you were paying from your pocket, and do you do enough to warrant it. Answer the question honestly, if the current paymaster agrees, then all is good. If not then something needs to change, your PR, your expectation, your work ethic, output, outcome and results… or your job.”

If you do decide you are worth it, below are some top tips for asking for a raise.

How to ask for a pay rise

David Ingram, managing director at agency Bring Digital, says he wants to see people come to him with real and tangible proof of their efforts when asking for a pay rise:  “It’s always easy to give a pay rise when an employee can tie their achievements back to real commercial value for the company. For example, ‘I created a PR strategy that has driven £125,000 of new sales’, or ‘I reduced the need to outsource our online PR services, which has saved us £36,000 a year’.

“If an employee can come to a pay review with a list of their achievements against expectations you set at a previous review, then it makes it much easier to sign off. For example, ‘you wanted me to improve my leadership skills, and I’ve taken a course, read the three suggested books and taken responsibility for the development of a junior staff member’.

“Both of these points come down to preparation; really taking the time to think about how your value to the company has increased since your last review, and bringing along the information that can evidence this.”

As with other industries, the key to earning the most in PR is partly about being in the right place at the right time, but mainly about sheer hard work – and making sure that everyone knows what you are achieving.

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